I will probably get lynched for this, but I am not a fan of Giada De Laurentiis.
She makes me nervous.
I guess it has to do with the adage
“never trust a skinny chef.” Her recipes
certainly look good. But there is always
this part in the back of my mind that keeps whispering... “What could she know about good food? She doesn’t eat.”
Of course I also know that I am
wrong. She takes huge bites of food on “Everyday
Italian” and she snitches bits on “Behind the Bash.” It’s all right there on tape. But even that still leaves me slightly
This doesn’t by any means stop me
from watching, but it is rare that I look at one of her recipes and immediately
need to make it. But that is exactly
what happened with this tuna recipe.
Once I saw it… I had to make it!
I am a huge fan of raw tuna in
general. Albacore tataki is my sushi
addiction. Especially at my favorite
sushi place with serves it with a garlic ponzu sauce, thus combining two of my great
food loves. So I am always looking for
good tuna recipes. And quite serendipitously,
my local farmers market has excellent, fresh, sashimi grade tuna.
With this in mind, I laid terribly
clever plans to try the recipe. I
stalked the ingredients, carefully checking my pantry for everything I needed
and slowly acquiring the ingredients I lacked. Fortuitously, I had lunch at a Japanese market a day before and picked
up the last ingredient before getting the tuna and setting to work, rice wine
I read through the recipe thrice then set to work, toasting, mixing, measuring and chopping. The scent of toasted almonds and coconut perfumed the entire house. It was nearly impossible to not sneak a nibble as I set the mixture to chill in the fridge. I wanted the flavors to meld. I wanted it to all be perfect.
I loved the combination of black
currents, almonds and toasted coconut. As a matter of fact I have vowed to create something that will spotlight
them better than the tuna. With the mildness
of the tuna and the smoothness of the avocado cream the flavor was almost one dimensional. The texture was certainly there. The color was pretty with the toasted almonds
and the green avocado. But the flavor
Wasabi? Lime zest? Both?
Still, it couldn’t have been that
bad. My brother not only went back for
second but thirds as well. The avocado cream
is a definitely keeper too! I may even
try this again, maybe with a different cut of tuna and a dash of wasabi to
punch up the flavors. Though I think
with the milder flavors it is a good introduction dish for those that are iffy
about raw fish.
Coconut Tuna Tartare
1 pound sushi grade tuna, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 tablespoons grated coconut, toasted
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons toasted almond slivers, chopped
4 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium stainless mixing bowl combine the diced tuna,
coconut, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, rice wine vinegar, almonds,
currants, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Toss well and season
with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Peel and halve the avocados and remove the pits. Give them a
rough chop and place them in a small stainless mixing bowl. Add the remaining
lime juice, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and olive oil. Mash the seasoned avocado
with a sturdy whisk until creamy in texture and season with salt and pepper.
To serve: Divide the avocado mixture equally into the bottom of 8 martini glasses. Separate the tuna into eight equal portions and spoon on top of the avocado.